I read this from a friend. http://www.orthodoxengland.org.uk/brorthoc.htm
We sometimes hear people talking about how they came to join the Orthodox Church. Although each story is interesting and may even be extraordinary, I think that the stories of how people remained faithful Orthodox Christians despite temptations may be more helpful. As it is written in the Gospels: 'In your patience possess ye your souls'.
Moreover, I have called this talk not, 'On Joining the Orthodox Church', but, 'On Becoming and Remaining an Orthodox Christian'. For joining the Orthodox Church or becoming a member of the Orthodox Church, which is concerned with external changes, is not at all the same as 'Becoming an Orthodox Christian', which is all about internal changes. And remaining an Orthodox Christian is even more important, which is why I have devoted three times as much time to it here as to becoming an Orthodox Christian.
ON BECOMING ORTHODOX
CONVERSION AND INTEGRATION
Let us define our terms by talking of a number of words which are used in this context. First, there is the useless phrase 'born Orthodox'. This does not exist. Nobody is 'born Orthodox', we are all born pagans. That is why we first exorcise and then baptise. More acceptable are the terms, 'born to an Orthodox family' and 'cradle Orthodox'. It is interesting that people who condescendingly use terms such as 'born Orthodox' call the children of 'converts', 'converts'. In fact of course in their incorrect language, the children of 'converts' are 'born Orthodox'!
Then there is the word 'convert'. When people say that they are converts, I first ask them: 'Converts to what?' To Greek folklore? To Russian food? To Phariseeism? To nostalgia for old-fashioned Anglicanism or Catholicism? To an intellectual hobbyhorse of syncretism?
True, in one sense we are all always converts because we all have to be converted to Christ constantly. That is the sense of Psalm 50. The Prophet David too was converted, 'born again', after his great sin. Unfortunately, the word convert is generally used not in this spiritual sense, but in a secular sense.
I hope that when people call themselves 'converts', it means that they are converted to Christianity (which is the correct word for Orthodoxy). I also hope that when they say that they are 'converts', it means that they were received into the Church very recently. Sadly, I must admit that this is not always the case. Over the years I have met people who joined the Orthodox Church ten, twenty, thirty and more years ago, and they are still 'converts' and even call themselves 'converts'. And this even among some clergy, prematurely ordained.
This is quite beyond me, for it means that even after years of being nominal members of the Orthodox Church, they still have not become Orthodox Christians, they still have not integrated the Church, they still have not grown naturally into Orthodoxy, and still do not live an Orthodox way of life, they still have not acquired that instinctive feel for Orthodoxy, which means that Orthodoxy is their one spiritual home, that it is in their bones and blood, that they breathe Orthodoxy, because their souls are Orthodox. They are suffering from the spiritual affliction of 'convertitis'. They have remained neophytes. They have only achieved what the Devil wanted them to achieve - to be incomplete. This is why Russians, punning on the Russian word 'konvert', which means an envelope, quite rightly say about some converts: 'The problem with the 'konvert' is that either it is often empty or else it often comes unstuck'"
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